Time can either be your friend or foe in the breakup process. If you aren’t in control of the hour hand, someone else will be setting the alarm or pressing the snooze button.

The topic demands your attention and requires precision tuning. It might be the most critical issue that influences a good or bad decision when it comes to ending a love relationship. You must, therefore, decipher if time is working for you, learn how to wind the clock to your advantage, and be certain it isn’t ticking to your disadvantage.

Time as the Enemy

In a world that is spinning by in the midst of your own hectic schedule, the passage of time is sometimes overlooked. Decisions that are purposely delayed or long overdue are less apparent. The timing is perfect for someone who wants to stonewall a decision.

Stonewalling is a defensive measure to gain time, to put off commitment, or to make a decision regarding the direction of a relationship. The act of stonewalling is fraught with uncertainty and is a sign of one party’s ambivalence toward the other. It can be prompted by an inadequate amount of love to advance the relationship.

judging others

Generally, men are the ones who take advantage of stonewalling particularly those who aren’t ready to relinquish their cherished freedom for a more committed relationship or a walk down the aisle. As soon as they feel pressure from a female with a different agenda, they either flee the scene or move into stonewalling mode.

The Sounds of Stonewalling

Sentences that may signal you are dealing with someone engaged in stonewalling may read like the following:

I love you, but I can’t think about marriage until I get a promotion.

I am not ready to take on the financial responsibility of a partnership until we pay off the credit card bills for the trip to Hawaii, the TV, and the new car.

We need more counseling. Two years hasn’t taken care of all our differences.

I don’t want to have kids, so let’s just keep living together.

I don’t know where this relationships is going. If you had told me you loved me a year ago when I told you, then I wouldn’t be so confused. I have gotten used to holding back with you now.

I take you to all the nice places. I don’t sleep with anyone else. I buy you all kinds of presents. How can you complain about our relationship?

I just spent several years in a serious relationship. I only want to be with you, but I am not ready to set any kind of timeline here. Maybe you could move in instead. It would make our relationship more convenient.

I love you madly, but I’m afraid to get engaged.

I have to get to know you all over again.

The spoken sounds of stonewalling should make you sit up and listen. You may not want to hang around if there is nothing positive coming next.

Suspicious Scenarios

Stonewalling is not always expressed in words. Sometimes it is acted out. Take a look at these common stonewall scenarios:

The Stonewall Engagement. The absence of a sound wedding date or the engagement that lasts for more than a year is suspect. Someone is probably stonewalling. Even more of a red flag is that the word engagement appears to have taken on a different meaning of late. A guy proud to be betrothed to Karen told everyone of the pending marriage. One step behind him Karen was whispering, I have no intention to wed.

The Financial Stonewall. This is the most prevalent stonewall scenario utilized by men or women whether sharing the same abode or living apart. They use financial obligation scar loans, accumulated credit card debt, or school loans as a reason for not approaching the altar. Curiously some buy the validity of the stonewall excuse even though they are living together and already sharing living expenses.

The Living Together Stonewall. The lower marriage rate is attributed in part to the large numbers of individuals who are cohabiting instead of becoming Mr. and Mrs. This stonewall is easy to slip into. The object is to perpetuate a state of limbo. Howard and Becky have been living together for five years. She wants to wed. Behind closed doors Howard admitted, I am not 100 percent sure if I am in love with Becky. I hesitate over the finality of marriage and can’t picture myself married.

The Rebound Stonewall. I haven’t completely gotten over my previous relationship. Ever hear that one before? Sometimes it’s true. Sometimes it’s not. Interviews with persons (primarily males) interpreted that sentence for me. Collectively, they agreed the trouble was they were looking for fireworks a more passionate, movie-like attraction and love connection to a woman. The women currently in their lives didn’t have it. If and when they came across someone who did, they were planning to jump ship.

Don’t be fooled and caught behind a stonewall, even if you have a ring on your finger. The best and biggest sign of stonewalling is that your love interest isn’t budging or moving quickly enough in the desired direction.

More Signs of the Stonewall Mode.

You think you are on your way to a committed love affair. Think again if any of the following statements apply to you:

You haven’t been taken home to meet the folks.

You are rarely included in family events.

You don’t know how much he or she earns.

You weren’t asked to help pick out the couch.

You don’t spend holidays together.

You haven’t met the boss.

You weren’t invited to the company picnic.

You don’t have an engagement ring.

You aren’t treated like a permanent fixture by his or her folks or kids.

You aren’t talked about as an integral part of his or her future plans.

What these signs indicate is the absence of a partner mentality. Until your love interest sees and treats you as an essential buddy, your relationship is at a standstill.

Patience Can Be a Virtue

It takes time for the rain to end, the wind to subside, and the blue skies to return. Nature has a way of working things out.

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Time is on its side. It can be on yours as well if you stop being so impetuous and impatient.

As long as you aren’t in jeopardy, allow indecision to slowly melt away. You might need more information that only time can provide in order to make a comfortable decision.

Why rush love? It is one of the worst mistakes you can make.

Pushing things along too quickly and demanding untimely answers adds premature stresses and strains to a budding relationship. For a more complete look at what happens when you rush love.

While-You-Wait Strategies

Uncertainty should not be accompanied by inaction! Select from this recommended list of strategies until you decide whether or not breaking up is in the game plan.

1. Date around

2. Work on yourself inside and out.

3. Don’t obsess over the relationship. Talk about something else.

4. Spend time with your friends.

5. Distance yourself from the relationship and take a vacation alone.

6. Take up a new hobby.

7. Do things you have put off finding time for.

8. Make an effort to meet new people.

9. Get out of the house. Don’t sit home.

10. Exercise daily. It relieves tension and gives the extra surge of energy you’ll need for all of the above.

If Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, Is This a Good While You-Wait Strategy?

That depends on whether or not you want to chance letting your partner get the jump on breaking it off first. Before you take a long distance hiatus from Ralph or Rose, consider these possibilities. Otherwise this strategy could backfire.

Unless there is already sufficient breadth, depth, and length to your relationship, along with a history of working out trials and tribulations, merely being absent from your love interest’s daily life could cause it to fizzle. There are individuals who require readily available intimacy to maintain even a modest love relationship. Without a relatively close proximity, they may be tempted to begin a new attraction with someone conveniently close at hand.

On the flip side, there is evidence that your questionable love interest is likely to sit by the fire and wait out the winter alone if he is the kind who likes developing lasting relationships. Then chances are he will miss you, yearn for your return, and think about the good times you’ve shared.

However, counting on absence to make the heart grow fonder is risky business. I wouldn’t advise it.

When Patience Loses Its Virtue

How long is too long to wait for something to transpire in your love relationship before calling it quits? This is a complicated question.

We’ve all met men and women who have spent five, six, even seven years with a romantic partner, then poof! it’s all over. Generally a stalemate endures this long because:

Each person has a different agenda and thinks they can convince the other to adopt theirs.

You have a marrying kind involved with a singularly satisfied prototype.

The romantic partners are not equally in love with each other.

A Critical Set of Variables.

The correct amount of time to linger on each and every relationship should be evaluated in light of the following circumstances.

Age. Obviously if you are in your early 20s there is plenty of time to look around and explore relationships. But one thing remains constant for everyone; if you spend a prolonged period of time involved in a relationship that fails to meet the desired end, regret becomes pervasive when you part. Anger, admonitions, and a diminished self-image accompany the breakup.

Satisfaction. Time flies when you are snuggled into a cozy, comfortable, pleasing, romantic relationship. Granted, it isn’t easy to give away something that feels good at the moment. However, if you are trading long-term satisfaction for immediate comforts, patience may not be a virtue.

Previous marital status. Dating a divorced man or woman in any decade of your romantic life is a distinct possibility. It is reasonable to give them time to adjust to a failed marriage, catch up with their financial obligations, and learn how to parent part-time. If, however, you don’t see progress in these areas, time may not be the only factor you are bucking.

Goals. You can’t fault anyone for wanting to finish law school or get their MBA before they assume the responsibility and partnership of a marriage relationship. You could, however, chastise yourself for putting your life on hold, following them around the country, and ending up on graduation day without knowing what your future holds. Without some concrete plans, patience is no longer a virtue in this waiting game.

Reproductive desires. Men and women both feel the pinch of reproductive possibilities around age 30. Benny admitted that he planned to wed close to his 30th birthday because that was the time frame he had in mind for fathering kids. Women justifiably express concern about their biological clock and start to panic after 30. So when it comes to blowing out all those candles on the cake, don’t suddenly become breathless realizing you have been too patient waiting for Joe or Jane to commit.

Take a good look at these variables and set your watch on the correct time. Never jeopardize your goals and desires indefinitely for someone else’s timetable.

Love Has No Substitute

Tracy was young, pretty, vibrant, fun, divorced, and the mother of two. She had been going out with Tommy for nearly four years. He divorced when his kids were in high school and had been in at least two other relationships that lasted anywhere from three to four years. He was the perfect companion, helped with the kids, ran errands, took trips, made love, and filled Tracy’s lonely hours. What he was terrible at was what Tracy wanted most making commitments that had to be signed on paper, filed with the courts, and officiated by clergy. It took Tracy 48 months to accept this love affair would never end the way she dreamed it would. It took another six months to make herself break it off.

What puzzled her the most was a concurrent relationship an acquaintance was having that appeared nearly identical on the outside but must have been different on the inside.

Tracy watched the other pair walk down the aisle. So did Tracy’s ex lover, who was seated in the second pew with his new romantic interest. She had easily stepped into Tracy’s shoes.

The critical element that gave Tracy’s acquaintance the Cinderella ending was love. The groom had fallen in love with his bride. It was the magic that distinguished her from his former long-term, satisfying string of lovers and playmates.

Love is what raced this second-hand forward. The absence of love can put a stop to the clock. It happened to Tracy.